Caregivers need care too – Davie County Enterprise Record

Caregivers also need care

Published at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday November 14, 2023

By Carrie Miller

Davie Senior Services

Carer – the one word that changes your life, whether you are a spouse, child or friend.

In the United States, November is National Caregivers Month. It is seen drawing attention to the work of more than 50 million family caregivers across the country.

The Davie County Family Caregiver Program is hosted by Davie Senior Services.

Social worker Kelly Sloan meets with caregivers and works with them to coordinate support if they have care recipients living in their home in Davie County.

Other eligibility criteria are that the person they are caring for has Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, or is over the age of 60 and needs help with at least two activities everyday.

Although the grant program is not based on income, priority is given to those with the lowest economic status and minorities. The program is funded by block grants received from Regional agency of the Piedmont Regional Council on Aging and is supplemented by Woodson grant funds as well as the Davie Community Foundation and endowment funds.

One of the main things that Family Caregiver Support is able to offer is respite. This is a single word that simply means to take a “break.” The program receives limited funding to help provide respite to loved ones in need, and works with local contracted agencies to accomplish this.

This allows family caregivers to take time to get their hair done, attend an event, go to their own appointments, play golf, go to church, or hang out with friends while knowing their care partner is safe. This is a valuable resource for caregivers in Davie County.

Elizabeth & Tab Williams Adult Day Center of Forsyth County also partners with our program for caregivers who want to use adult day care as an option.

There are other opportunities for caregivers in Davie County, starting with the Family Caregiver Support Group which meets twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Davie Senior Services main campus. This is an opportunity for caregivers to share their stories or hear from speakers on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Many group members care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but any caregiver is welcome.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Family Caregiver Support Group has been meeting via Zoom weekly to offer support during times of confinement. Several caregivers meet with this group to discuss transitions from home to other types of care such as memory care units, nursing homes, or hospice care.

When asked about the Family Caregiver Support Group, five-year member Roni Barney said:

“When you feel alone with your loved one, you feel like you’re the only one going through what you’re going through. The support group shows how everyone is going through the same thing. No matter how many healing classes you take, it’s not the same experience. The support group shares related tips and experiences, including that relief and a break are a good idea, especially when you’re caring for a loved one 24/7.

Barney, a former member of the group, also introduced the idea of ​​robotic animals.

Her daughter, Janis Myers, learned about robotic animals through research on Alzheimer’s disease and pets because her grandmother loved animals. From there, they bought a cat and a dog for Barney’s mother. They could never tell if she thought the animals were really real.

Myers, who worked at a veterinary office, asked to take the puppy in for an exam. When she did, they found Cheetos in the puppy’s mouth. These animals are able to purr, bark and be brushed or stroked as if they were real. That’s how Davie County’s robotic animal program was born.

Since 2020, the Davie County Senior Services Family Care Program has been able to purchase robotic animals for Alzheimer’s and dementia care recipients in Davie through grants and memorial donations.

The program offers more to help caregivers in Davie County. It provides a limited number of incontinence supply vouchers where supplies can be delivered to the caregiver’s door or purchased at Foster Drug.

When one participant was asked about supplies, he responded, “Being able to get help purchasing adult briefs and Ensure has been very helpful for my parents. They have limited income and every little bit counts. Supplies can range from adult pads and briefs to Ensure wipes and complementary drinks.

Another program in the Family Caregiver Support Program is a GPS tracker for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia who tend to wander. GPS trackers work through Angel Sense and allow the caregiver to see where their loved one is at any time as long as their loved one is wearing the tracking device.

When a caregiver was asked about the GPS tracker, he responded, “I am grateful to have received the GPS tracking device for my mother. She doesn’t use a phone anymore, so tracking her that way wouldn’t work. I was able to attach the Angel Sense device to my mother’s shoes and download the app to my smartphone. So now if mom wants to walk outside and she’s gone longer than usual, I can use my app and see her exact location. I never worry about her getting lost.

As we all know, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can cause various changes. To keep their brains stimulated, one of the options offered by the program is two choices of activity kits filled with activities that the caregiver and loved one can do together or that the loved one can do alone to give respite for the caregiver.

When asking caregivers about the activity kits, one shared: “The dementia-specific activity kit I received for my wife has been very beneficial to us. There were so many cool things in the activity kit that we got to do together. His favorite thing was the Aqua Paint Book. We put some water in a cup and she used the brush on the blank paper and the pretty images appeared.

Another caregiver shared: “My dad loved the puzzle that came in the activity kit. There were 13 rooms and they were all very large, so he was able to do it almost entirely by himself.

If you are unsure whether this program is right for you or if you have questions and would like to discuss your options or your specific caregiver situation, call to speak with Sloan to arrange a home visit or time meeting. There are also other state-funded respite options and programs if this program is not for you.

As can be seen, Davie County Senior Services is here to support caregivers throughout their journey with their spouses, parents and friends as needed.

Call 336-753-6230 for more information.


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